Watch CBSN Live

Clinton: Protect National Parks

President Clinton is labeling the big GOP tax cut plan a threat to America's natural treasures.

In his weekly radio address, broadcast from his vacation retreat off Cape Cod, Mr. Clinton charged the Republican designs would cut funding to the national parks - and threaten some with closure.

The president wants to spend a billion dollars a year buying land and taking other steps to protect parks, wetlands, forests and seashore. But Congress has balked at his first installment.

He said his priorities for the new year include new protections for Civil War battlefields, the Lewis and Clark Trail, the Cape Cod national seashore, and the Pelican Island refuge in Florida - America's first wildlife refuge.

"But these priorities are at risk because Congress has approved only a fraction of my request. And while we're taking action to protect our environment and the public health, the Republican leadership's risky tax plan would actually roll back our progress. It would cut funding to our national parks, even threaten to shut some of them down," Mr. Clinton said.

Mr. Clinton quoted Theodore Roosevelt as saying that steps like this are a "sacred obligation." He says Roosevelt's fellow Republicans should heed him.

Mr. Clinton also used his address to announce an agreement to preserve 9,000 acres near Yellowstone Park. He says it'll protect bison, elk and antelope - as well as the springs that feed the Old Faithful geyser. CBS News Correspondent Sam Litzinger reports.

"We're indebted to those who safeguarded our national treasures so that we might enjoy them today, and we owe that same debt to the future. It is our sacred obligation to leave this land a better land for our children and for generations yet to come. Theodore Roosevelt was right, and it's time we all heeded him," Mr. Clinton said.

The chairman of the Senate Budget Committee says "the government is taking more money from you than it needs."

Pete Domenici used the Republicans' weekly radio address to promote Congress' $792 billion tax-cut plan.
The New Mexico senator accused President Clinton of wanting "to keep all the money in Washington and give none back to overtaxed American families."

Mr. Clinton says he'll veto the bill. The president wants to use the budget surplus to protect Social Security and Medicare and pay off the national debt.

The radio address is only one of about 600 events at which Republican lawmakers are talking about the tax cut bill.

View CBS News In